Teenage Turmoil: The Search for Love and Acceptance

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So, what should you do if you don’t seem to get the love and appreciation you desire? Should you respond in anger by doing things that make your parents get more annoyed? Should you just cow in and accept the situation and live as an unhappy teenager?

Prologue: Echoes of Longing

The Quest for Love and Acceptance

Do you sometimes feel unloved and unappreciated? Do you feel deeply hurt when your parents or another adult complain about you? You want them to value you, but they do not seem to recognise that you should be respected at your own level? Really, you are not the only teenager that feels like that. Even adults sometimes feel like that a lot of times. But the longing is stronger amongst teenagers. In fact, the common factor amongst teenagers is the desire to be loved and accepted both by parents and peers. You really long to be valued, for those around you to acknowledge the good things about you. If you do not recognise this longing in yourself, you will react to situations inappropriately, and you will wonder at your own reactions. So several teenagers have this turmoil within them and they find themselves constantly clashing with authorities. Some even have issues with their classmates in school.

Recognising that this desire is in you, it will help you to manage your actions when you feel you are not appreciated. I have met teenagers who considered suicide because they felt their parents do not believe in them. There has been others who became brutal at their siblings because they feel they are loved more by their parents, some others just become unruly, such that before their parents say a word of correction, they have retorted bad in an angry manner. Others even deliberately do the opposite of what they are instructed to do so that they can get back at their parents or guardians.

What Should You Do?

So, what should you do if you don’t seem to get the love and appreciation you desire? Should you respond in anger by doing things that make your parents get more annoyed? Should you just cow in and accept the situation and live as an unhappy teenager? Or should you concentrate on being popular at school and doing daring things that others are not bold to do hoping that it will force people to recognise you? Non-of these options are the best options. For someone who has a bright future, who wants to have a future without looking back with regrets at the younger years, you must learn to handle corrections, rebukes or even insults. Here are some counsels:

The Situation is Temporary.

First, recognise that your situation is temporary. If you are living with your parents or guardians and you feel they don’t appreciate you, it is not going to be like that forever. One day, you will leave home and have the chance to prove that you can actually succeed and bring them honour. Nevertheless, where it is possible to have a frank talk with the adults about how you feel, do so. But, when that cannot be done, you need to turn the situation into an opportunity to learn as much as you can from them despite your feelings of being unloved. You cannot force adults to behave to you in certain ways, but you can choose how you respond to their actions in such a wise way that you can gain knowledge and improvement from them despite their very harsh comments. They are not perfect, but, they are not altogether empty of good things that can be added to your life. If you have such a positive attitude to your present situation, you are equipping yourself with maturity to work with people of different personalities outside your home (school, work, market) even when they are not altogether pleasant. You are on your way up.

Take an Honest Assessment of Yourself.

Second, you have to take an honest assessment of yourself. Check yourself to see whether their opinion about you true? For instance, if they say you are lazy, are you actually lazy? You need to be frank with yourself. If everyone behaves the way you behave at home, will things get done? If in your frank estimation, you realise that you spend most of your time taking care of yourself and you do not deliberately do things to make things easier for others in the home, then indeed, they have a right to complaint.

Imagine that you travel for a month, will they miss your absence or will they be relieved? If they will not miss you, then probably you are a burden. This will reflect in your other relationships when you leave home, people may not enjoy living with you, and they will treat you with contempt while you may be feeling unloved. People tend to love those who are of value to them. So, take your eyes off your needs for a moment and show concern about other people’s welfare. Love not just in words but demonstrate actions that make life easier for others.

Focus on the Message, Not the Delivery.

Third, when an adult criticises or rebukes you, do not dwell on the manner in which the correction is meted out. Ignore the tone of voice or the words they used. A voice inside you will retort saying “why should they talk to me like that?” It is wise for you to ignore that voice and focus on what is at stake, that is, what did I do wrong and how can I correct it? Remember that almost all teenagers go through what you are going through. A young person still has a lot to learn and many adults are not patient enough when they make mistakes. This means that many times adult will not talk to you the way you wish to be spoken to. You cannot change the adult, so why not make the best use of the situation and just learn from the situation and move on? More so, you cannot force adults to behave to you in certain ways, but you can choose how you respond to their actions in such a wise way that you can gain knowledge and improvement from very harsh comments.

Avoid Seeking Love Where it Doesn’t Exist.

Finally, do not look for love where there is no love. This means that you will naturally be drawn to people who speak well of you, people who show you some respect that you so deserve. But the fact that people speak sweetly to you does not mean that they really love you. Don’t fall victim. A lot of predators out there know that there are boys and girls looking for love. So what do they do? They throw baits out. They know lonely boys and girls would grab it. For example, a guy may target a lonely girl by being around her and saying sweet words until the girl begins to feel that “this is the only person who loves me.” After a while, she feels that she can’t do without him, once this happens, he knows he has caught her. He seizes the opportunity and starts asking her to do things she would otherwise not have done for anybody. It could mean stealing for him, following him to an unknown place or the like.

 Likewise a boy can be targeted. Some guys draw close to him, they say positive things to him, they hang about him. Then he begins to feel “yea, I’m a man, these guys know my worth” when he has grown to depend on them for self-assurance, then they strike. They may invite him for a party at an odd time or place to get him initiated into a cult or gang. By then, he finds it difficult to refuse their offers and he is eventually pulled into their net. So, do not go in search of people to love you, rather, you should focus on being a blessing to people wherever you go.

You are Christ’s Beloved

Above all, find the love that God has for you. When you discover that your creator truly loves you, it soothes you heart with peace and gives you the strength to reach out to help others.

All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.

2Corinthians 1:3-4 (MSG)

Those who feel hopeless and unloved cannot truly love others; they become selfish. So, find the love that your creator has for you. You may watch this videos for more information about this.

I hope you will make good use of this simple counsel that you have been given. If you do, you will be a temperate teen who is not moody. Situations around you will not determine your mood or your joy anymore. You can be a calm boy or girl who can adapt easily to any situation. Look for friends who encourage you to look on the positive side of life

Jadesola Adepeju

Jadesola Adepeju

Jadesola is a Christian missionary, counsellor and writer. She firmly supports her husband in their ministry to young people.

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